Kenwood may offer driver assist products in the future, joining other suppliers such as Mobileye, Alpine and Audiovox.
“It’s on our roadmap…but it’s too soon to talk about it,” said Kenwood’s Keith Lehmann.
Audiovox also told us it is working on a prototype for a blind spot detection product, but it too is not ready to announce firm details. In addition, Audiovox hopes to ship its delayed aftermarket lane departure warning system in about 90 days. As announced earlier, the system will carry a price of about $599 and will be aimed at both the retail and expeditor markets.
While the driver assist category has been slow to gain headway in the aftermarket, it bears much potential say industry members. Audiovox’s Tom Malone notes the products require “intensive” reliability testing. “There’s a lot of software involved, and a lot of different vehicle configurations so they are not easy to get into the market…..it’s got to be reliable and unique for every vehicle.”
But he believes the products will be met with strong demand. “Absolutely, consumers are ready for this. Blind spot detection is a great product. The consumer gets it in about 30 seconds and it’s one of those things nice to have in the car, once it’s made affordable and people can get them at a retail store or car dealer…. and lane departure warning as well,” Malone added.
Sony said driver assist products “is not part of our future offering,” according to a spokeswoman.
In driver safety, Alpine offers an active back up camera that provides audible and visual warnings of moving objects detected behind the vehicle. The company would not reveal future products but noted it has a full driver assist testing facility in Japan and is researching additional products and features.
Alpine’s Steve Crawford said the category represents an opportunity for specialists since they are better positioned than mass merchants to explain the products to customers and install them.
Steelmate confirms it is on track to offer, what may be the first blind spot detection device for the aftermarket this September. The device plugs into the car’s OBDII port and is expected to cost about $399.